Wednesday, August 31, 2011

30DBC28: Goals: update

So, a month ago, I shared some goals I had for August, and seeing as how tomorrow is September 1 (I am both stunned and thrilled to welcome September), I guess it is time for a report card.

  • blog consistently: I don’t think 20/31 is too shabby!
  • lose 10 lbs.: more posts coming about this, but….thrilled to say I’ve lost 12 lbs this month.
  • get my hair cut:  did that last Friday – still as happy with Kim at Images as I was when I found her in July. 
  • mail 2 birthday cards on time: eh.  I missed Daina’s, but got Marybeth’s out in time, and in addition, I sent my grandparents a card for their 56th wedding anniversary.  Go, me!  (And boy, September is gonna be a doozy, too.  6 birthdays and a wedding need cards!) 
  • try 5 new recipes: nailed this.  I posted about six new recipes here, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.  I’d say I tried at least 10 new recipes this month.
  • host 2 families for dinner:  fail. =(  I wasn’t as intentional about this as I’d planned to be.  We’re trying to work out our schedule with one couple, and the other couple….I haven’t picked out yet.  (Anybody local….feel free to toss your hat in the ring.)  I have, however, had Tiffany over for dinner several times this month, so I guess this one wasn’t a total fail. 
  • clean out master bedroom closet: I’m actually really, really proud of myself for this one.  My side of the closet is DONE! and Jim’s is about 90% where it needs to be.  The remainder of it just needs to be a joint effort.  And the closet purge led to a desk purge, too, so bonus points there.
  • organize bottom kitchen cabinet: okay, this one?  Just not a reality unless we get cabinet locks installed because my kids?  They think the bottom cabinets are their afternoon playground, so….this is a no-go goal until further notice. 
  • repurpose living room canvases: nothing has inspired me, not to mention I have actual art that needs attention first, so, again, this one fell to the back burner.  I’m thinking I may end up using them for something merely seasonal vs. trying to repurpose them into a permanent fixture.
  • read The Midwife’s Confession for book club: huh?  Book club?  Yeah, no.  That one didn’t even cross my mind.  (Let me just confess here, I haven’t even looked at these goals since I published the original post, so it’s no wonder a couple of these didn’t materialize.) 
  • plan girls’ weekend for September, either Chicago with Ohio gal pals or Pensacola with college gals (for a wedding): so…..this one is tricky.  Pensacola fell through because one of the girls (not me) wound of pregnant and is dealing with first trimester stuff, and I have to be at a church function, like, 8 minutes after the ceremony in Pensacola, so yeah, that doesn’t work.  And as far as Chicago goes….I’m going to suggest a locale change, and if that flies with the other girls, then we’ll be in business.  So let’s just say this one is under construction. 

I have to say, I’m proud of myself!  In a month of traveling, a lot of doctor appointments, preschool drama, church meetings and functions and just general craziness…..I kind of rocked it out!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


This morning, I am thankful for:
  • my new MacBook Pro.
  • the wonderful people who gifted me with it, and
  • the great techie friend who set it up for me
  • beautiful weather this past week when all rain had been the forecast
  • safety for east coast friends who weathered Irene with minimal damage or impact
  • progress with Seth at his new preschool
  • opportunities to serve at my church
  • an unexpected opportunity to travel to see family sooner than expected, twice!
  • fantasy football – I don’t participate, but it allows Jim to stay connected with certain groups of friends that otherwise he might not, and that’s important to me
  • being able to find new, healthy recipes just by surfing the web
  • uncluttered kitchen counters
  • fall scents at Yankee Candle
  • awesome designer finds for me and Erin at Goodwill.  Seriously? $2 for Banana Republic?  Yes, please!

Monday, August 29, 2011

It is finished

I hinted a few weeks ago that we were (fingers crossed) about to declare Seth 100% day-time potty trained.

Well, consider it declared!

We are accident free for just about a month now, so Daisy – Seth’s much sought after and long-awaited potty training reward – arrived in Greema’s mailbox a couple weeks ago.  And the boy?  Couldn’t be happier.

gregory fishing ohio trip 026

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A tree grows in White House…

duncan's tree

It’s had to believe that it’s been two years since we planted Duncan’s tree.

I think the person who coined the phrase “time heals all wounds” is an idiot.

But I must admit….time has a way of softening the harsh edges of grief, of blurring the sharp pain of loss.

Time passes, and aches lessen, and trees – and children – grow.

And it is a beautiful thing.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Vacation: Monday

This picture just makes me smile.  Ah, boys.

vacation (19)

Monday, we were supposed to take all the kiddos horseback riding, but that fell through, so instead, Jim and Doug took the boys fishing at the state park, and Sara and I took the girls uptown to Nashville to shop!

vacation (28) 
vacation 042

Why yes, I did buy Erin and Tabitha matching Hello, Kitty (or, Hi, Kitty-kitty, as Tabitha would say) candy bracelets to fend off the crankiness that was starting to set in after two hours of shopping.

vacation 044

Should have bought these shades for Erin.  But I’m cheap.  And they were $8.  (And a month later, I found an equally Hollywood-esqu pair at Wallyworld for $1.  Score!)vacation 046

Saltwater taffy break!

 vacation 048

My favorite girls, and the bench Sara fell in love with, and the neatest shop ever.  There is a story to come about the awesome proprietor of this place…

vacation 049
And now we move to the afternoon/evening portion of the day.

A little sun…

vacation 051

A gratuitous Zeke-self-portrait (the first of many, I discovered when downloading the pics off my camera)…

 vacation 056  A little cornhole…

vacation 058

With appropriate cheering section, of course…

vacation 059

And cake……

vacation 060

Lots and lots of yummy homemade birthday cake, with fresh whipped cream…

vacation 061

And then there was fire….

Doug and Jim became masters of this (so awesome!) firepit.  They worked on the week’s first  fire while Sara and I….um, who knows what we were doing?  Bedtime routine?  Laundry?  Who knows?

vacation 063

vacation 067

vacation 068
Ah, the view straight up from the deck.
 vacation 071  
Day two……smashing success!  No injuries, no accidents, no plans gone awry (after we got over the horse riding failure).  Vacation 2011, you’re treating us well!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A dieter’s tip

I kind of hate that word.  DIET.  But it’s gonna get my point across, so I’ll run with it.

If you have a time of day that you are particularly prone to mindless snacking, a surefire way to put the kibosh on that, at least for a little bit (and maybe long enough for the craving to pass?) is to mop your kitchen floor.

At least with the way my floorplan is, when I mop my kitchen, I can’t get to either the fridge or the pantry until the floor dries.  It’s a deterrent for sure.

I only wish I’d read this tip somewhere, instead of learning it firsthand when I mopped the floor, not at “snack time,” but right before everybody’s lunchtime.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It’s the little things

It’s the little things that mean the most, they say.

When I was a little girl….and probably well into my teen years, if I remember correctly, my my maternal grandfather’s sister would send me card, monthly maybe?, with a quarter taped to the inside, signed merely, “Love, Aunt Julia.”  And those quarters dutifully went right into the huge piggy bank that Julia’s sister, Vivian, painted for me.  (And I do mean HUGE.  I’ll have to take a picture of it to show y’all…but it’s in Erin’s room, and lil’ miss is snoozing.)

Now, a similar tradition continues with my own little ones.

We have months and months worth of cards and notes from Jim’s aunt Joyce, addressed to “Sprout,” and then “Master Seth James,” and then “Master Seth and Baby Too,” and the “Master and Miss.”  I’ve been keeping them all for over 4 years now.

aunt joyce 001

And today, I found a super cute retro tin lunchbox for $0.99 at Goodwill, and knew just how to put it to use in Erin’s room.

aunt joyce 002

Now, when a card arrives from Slippery Rock, PA, we all know right where it goes for safekeeping.  I hope that as Seth and Erin grow they will have a truer appreciation for this little act of kindness than I did for my Aunt Julia’s cards when I was little.  I didn’t know….and now I wish I had at least one card left signed merely, “Love, Aunt Julia.”

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vacation: Sunday

So, it’s been almost a month since we ventured to Brown County, IN, with Doug and Sara and their brood.  I can’t really begin to describe how much that vacation was anticipated, needed, and enjoyed.   We made some fabulous memories, and, sit tight, because you’re going to be reading about them all week!  (I was going to do just one post, but I had 99 pictures to share, and those were too many for a single post!)

So, here we go with Day 1 of our first (of many!) dual family summer vacation.

Fueling up with pancakes and syrup!  Gotta have good energy for the car ride!  (So thankful that we only had 4 hours to drive to get to our rental house.)
 vacation 001 We’re already an hour into our trip, but we’re only 20 miles from home…..having a gas card from work has its perks, but being able to utilize only certain gas stations is not one of them.  What’s a girl to do but play with her toes.

vacation 003

vacation 005 
Mom always said no ball in the house; she never said anything about the car!

vacation 007 vacation 008 
About half-way through the trip, Seth asked to watch a movie.  Poor Erin!  Now that she is forward facing, she was watching Seth’s movie, too, so we broke out a set of headphones for the little miss, too!

vacation 011

We arrived to our (gorgeous!!! huge!!! so perfect!!!) cabin only moments before a huge storm hit, so the first order of business was just to get all the stuff in the house, and then….relax!

vacation 016
It was still drizzling rain and thundering when the rest of our troop arrived, but Sara and I had no qualms about sending the little ones out to the back patio to explore.  We LOVED having this awesome (covered by the 2nd floor deck) patio for sidewalk chalk and bubbles, not to mention that it was right next to the swingset and firepit (where the big boys spent a lot of late afternoons).

vacation 018 vacation 019 vacation 020 vacation 022
Right off the patio was the rec room with a wet bar, and pool, ping pong, and air hockey tables, which the kids loved (air hockey especially!).
 vacation 024

Once the rain fully let up, Uncle Doug and his boys decided to prep the hot tub for some grown up fun later that night.  And speaking of grown up fun, let me just publicly apologize to both Jim and Doug that I didn’t bother to take a picture of the fully awesome grill that they had to cook on all week.  Oops.

vacation 025 vacation 027 vacation 029 vacation 030 
When Jim and I stayed in Brown County for our honeymoon, we discovered a local pizzeria, the Harvest Moon.  We were repeat guests on our 2005 trip, so it was the first place we stopped on this venture as well.  Erin was all about her pizza (and her plate)!

vacation 034

So, after some yummy pizza (both pepperoni and brownie – yes, brownie pizza!), we headed back to the house to get the kids settled (which was WAY easier than I anticipated): Seth and Tabitha in a room, Zeke and Micah in a room, and Erin in her pack ‘n play in our…wait for it….master bedroom walk in closet!

With baby monitors on, the adults retreated to the hot tub to congratulate ourselves on reaching the end of the first (and probably most stressful-due-to-travel) day of vacation.

Coming up, shopping for the girls and fishing for the boys!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Playground fun

Last Wednesday, Jessi and I both were going a little stir crazy by 9 AM, so we packed up our little monsters and headed to the city park.  It was supposed to be a balmy 85, but let me tell you, it was a HOT 85.  Little Miss E was her reddish/purple hue after about 10 minutes.

Regardless, the kids loved being out in the sun together, and I know soon enough our weather will cooperate with longer playground forays.

aug weeks 1 and 2 (26)

aug weeks 1 and 2 (28) aug weeks 1 and 2 (29) aug weeks 1 and 2 (33) aug weeks 1 and 2 (34)
Hot, flushed, and ready to move the party to the uber-germy, but thankfully-cooler, McDonald’s playplace.
 aug weeks 1 and 2 (38) aug weeks 1 and 2 (40)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What’s for dinner?

I’ve been posting these links on Facebook, but for those of you who don’t see those posts, I thought I’d share a couple new recipes that we’ve tried over the last week or two.

First of all, thank you to Sara for getting me hooked on SkinnyTaste when she shared a link to this

Hello, Pina Colada sorbet.  Yes, I’d like to eat you.

Since discovering Gina’s site, I’ve made Chocolate Chip Zucchini BreadIrish Soda Bread (both a sweet version and a savory version); Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken; and Swedish Meatballs.





Another site I’ve been inspired by is Andie’s Can You Stay for Dinner? Her story is so inspiring; I love her writing style, and her recipes are fabulous.  I’ve made two so far and both have been a hit with everyone who has tasted them.

First, I tackled the Honey BBQ Meatloaf, which fell apart for some reason (cook error, I’m sure), but it was scrumptious!  And then I made the Buffalo Chicken Rolls to take to a church potluck.  They were gone in a flash!



Not sure what’s next on my to-do list, but I’m pretty sure if I pull the recipe from either of these gals, it won’t disappoint!

all photo credit goes to respective chef/blogger, not me!